Everyone needs to be on the web. Even if it’s a one page site that just lists the address and phone number of your brick and mortar store. Hopefully, you want to do a bit more that just a page with your address and phone number on it.
Small business owners need a checklist they can look at and check off, that’s what this post hopes to accomplish.
1. Put analytics on your site. If you want something free and easy, I would suggest Google Analytics. Once that is installed you can start to see who is coming, where they’re coming from, how long they’re staying, and where they jump ship. You can do lots of more complicated and customized stuff using the advanced features available from Google Analytics, but that is for another post.
2. Understand the difference between “hits”, “page views”, “visitors”, “unique visitors” and “time on site”. Back in the stone age, people talked about “hits”, but what they really meant was the number of pages viewed per day(or week, month, year). “Page Views” is still something some sites care about, usually if they sell advertising that is priced by page impressions. A site like the Drudge Report can report “visits” as an accurate metric, because he has a one page site.
Unique visitors is an interesting metric, and is a much better count of visitors. On the flip side is “Return Visitors”, which also can give you certain insights. A commonly overlooked metric is how much time visitors are spending on your site, aka “stickiness”. Obviously more is better, unless they don’t end up buying.
3. The number one metric you should be tracking is CONVERSIONS! If your site makes money by selling something, you need to track the funnel. You can see where people leave the path you so carefully planned for them. You should be constantly tweaking and A/B testing until nobody can escape.
4. Put your address, email and phone number on your site. Even better, put it in the footer of every page. If someone wants to find you or call you, don’t make it hard. This also allows Google and Yahoo to add you to their local business directories, but you shouldn’t wait for them to find you, you should add yourself.
5. Sign up for Google’s Webmaster Tools. This tool is invaluable for finding problems with your site.
None of these cost anything, and probably would take a novice a couple of hours.
Once these items are knocked out, it’s time to start phase 2, which will be my next post.